Bradley Goodsell Career Profile picture

Role: Principal Consultant

Career Area: Research, Modelling and Analysis

Location: Woking

My role at SYSTRA

I’m a Principal Consultant in the Social and Market Research Team. Market Research involves the collection, analysis and reporting on data for a wide range of projects across the Consultancy Business. Predominantly, the role involves project managing several different research projects at any time; ensuring that our clients are pleased with the progress and quality of our work; and ensuring that projects are tracking to timescale and budget.

I get to be hands-on in collecting data through a range of methods (for example, running surveys, conducting interviews, moderating focus groups), undertaking data analysis (through SPSS, Excel, PowerBI) and report-writing – but I also ensure that technical tasks are delegated to project team members as required.

In addition, I get to be involved in bid-writing, which involves designing research programmes and putting together proposals to try and ‘win work’ for SYSTRA.

My career journey

It happened a bit by chance really. I enjoyed lots of different subjects at school, but I was most interested in three things: playing sport, playing with data and learning about what motivated other people – very much in that order! I started studying Psychology at A Level, and after a bit of deliberation (and realising that I wasn’t going to play cricket for a living) I decided to study Psychology at university.

Throughout the course of my degree, I found that my favourite modules (anything involving statistics and research methods) overlapped with a career in Market Research. But, it was only following my placement year at university that I knew Market Research was a career I wanted to pursue – and now I’m a Principal Consultant in the Social and Market Research Team at SYSTRA!

We asked Bradley…
When did you realise this was the career path for you?

As part of my degree, I undertook a placement year as a Data Analyst at NBC Universal. During that year, I got to analyse, report and present insights relating to lots of quantitative data. I really enjoyed these elements of the work, but it made me realise that I wanted to do a job which went beyond solely analysing data. I wanted to have a say in defining what data is being collected and be hands-on in gathering it. This desire to have a greater involvement in research design and data collection prompted me to look for careers that would enable this. It was a pretty significant moment for me as it was the first time I had genuine clarity on what type of career I wanted to pursue.

Have you got any words of wisdom for someone starting out in a similar role?

I’d say the most important thing at the start of your career is to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role. To be clear, enthusiasm to me doesn’t mean shouting the loudest or agreeing to something unreasonable to show how committed you are. I see it more as being open to the opportunities presented to you, showing a desire to learn new skills, and having a willingness to try new things that will broaden your experiences. No one expects perfection at the start of your career, but a positive attitude and desire to learn is a must.

How does SYSTRA stand out from the rest as a Great Place to Work?

What continues to surprise me is the sheer variety of work which the Social and Market Research team get involved with. One of the great things about our team is that we get to work with so many areas of the business in providing research support, or in helping to deliver engagement as part of wider projects. Within the transport sector specifically, we’ve covered pretty much every mode of travel I can think of, using many different methodologies to explore topics. But even outside of transport, we get the opportunity to work on projects relating to environmental issues, water, energy – so there’s plenty of variety.

With such power in diversity, what unique perspective do you bring to the table?

I’m not sure it’s necessarily a unique perspective amongst our team, but playing lots of team sports with people from a range of backgrounds has allowed me to experience different cultures, both in terms of team dynamics, as well as the experiences of different individuals. This has probably helped build empathy and openness towards others, and created an understanding that the way we act, think and work varies greatly between different people and team environments. I think this perspective applies heavily to a people-focused role such as Market Research, as it helps in building rapport with research participants and shows that you genuinely care and will listen to what they have to say.

Where is the place that has inspired you the most?

The main place I’ve been which made me feel inspired was the area around Vancouver, Canada. The city itself is lovely and there’s so many kind people in the area who made it an enjoyable stay. But the real inspiration lies an hour or two north of the city, the natural environment of mountains, forests and lakes is absolutely stunning.

What does true sustainability really mean to you?

I see sustainability as acting responsibly and considerately to ensure that our future is not compromised by our actions in the present. Whether this is thinking about the environment, or the relationships we build with others, for something to be ‘sustainable’ it needs that element of longevity for me.

What would a green future look like?

I don’t think we should necessarily be constrained to individual ideas on what a green future looks like. For me, the biggest questions stem from the level of urgency required to achieve a green future. Personally, I feel like the clock is ticking and we need to go beyond empty pledges and deadlines set for 2050 – I don’t think that’s good enough. Achieving a green future will require some pretty drastic interventions and I think that creates bigger questions.

How can we achieve a green future in as short a timescale as possible without inadvertently discriminating between the haves and the have nots? How can we generate the necessary infrastructure and encourage the required behaviour change in a way that ensures the green future is fair to all? I don’t have the answer to these questions, but as a market researcher, I’d love to hear people’s views on how this can be done.

How do you look after your wellbeing outside of work?

I really enjoy being active outside of work, and getting moving before and after a day at the desk helps me mentally refresh too. I play cricket, which involves training a couple of evenings a week and going to matches on Saturdays during the summer, which besides the physical aspect has a great social side to it too. When I’m not playing cricket, I like taking long country walks with my wife and dog, and more often than not we pop into a pub or two on the way home to rehydrate!

If you could spend your lunchbreak with someone you really admire, who would you choose?

Whilst there are lots of interesting people in the world I’d like to talk to, I wouldn’t choose any of them over spending my lunchbreak with those who are closest to me. I’m very lucky that I get to have lunch with my wife quite a lot at the moment, so having lived quite a way from my parents and sister for several years, I’d pick them.

If you had to pick, which mode of transport would you use for the rest of your life?

Assuming I didn’t have time constraints or any heavy items, then it would be travelling on foot. You’ve got the obvious physical benefits, you feel mentally refreshed, and it’s a great way to connect to the places around you. But most importantly, I’m not sure my dog would be too happy with me if we didn’t go for walks anymore!

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